Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by John D. Clark, Sr.
It is my hope that everyone who reads this tract will understand that it is not written from an attitude of self-righteousness but of sincere concern for souls. If the saints are to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth”, then we must be plain about such issues as this. And it is only to that end that this biblical truth is presented for your consideration.
Whether or not a person accepts what the Bible says concerning this subject, he will have to admit that from the Bible’s first mention of homosexual behavior to the last, from Genesis to Revelation, homosexuality is condemned as sin. One excuse homosexuals offer for their behavior is that they were born homosexual; in other words, it is a natural way of life. But the Bible makes it very clear that homosexual conduct is “against nature” (Rom. 1:26).
Jesus said that sin proceeds from the heart of man (Mt. 15:17–20). Then, since homosexuality is condemned as a sin, homosexual desires must spring from man’s heart. No one who is forced to commit an act has sinned. If the serpent had forced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, she would not have been cast out of the garden.
So clearly does the Bible condemn homosexuality that not many verses are needed to communicate God’s position on it. The following scriptures are those which deal with this unsavory subject:
Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male [this Hebrew word refers to any male: boys, men, or even male animals] as men lie with a woman. It is an abomination!”
Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male, as men lie with a woman, both men have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”
Deuteronomy 23:17: “There shall be no temple prostitute among the daughters of Israel, nor shall there be a temple prostitute among the sons of Israel.” Ceremonial intercourse in honor of certain gods of fertility was fairly common in the ancient world. This verse forbids that practice. Playing on the Hebrew word for “sanctification”, temple prostitutes in Israel called themselves “sanctified ones”, but there was nothing holy about them or their deeds. Their efforts to make their lust appear to be a form of devotion to God was especially disgusting. He was neither impressed nor honored. Other places where reference is made to these temple prostitutes are 1Kings 14:24, 15:12 and 22:46. And in 2Kings 23:7, we learn that God’s people wandered so far from righteousness that they built houses for temple prostitutes beside God’s holy temple in Jerusalem. Perversion of the faith is not peculiar to our generation.
Deuteronomy 23:18: “You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the price of a dog into the house of the Lord your God for any vow, for they both are an abomination to the Lord your God.” The term, “dog” is used here and once in the New Testament (Rev. 22:15) as a euphemism for male prostitutes, probably as reference to the manner of dogs (i.e., sniffing another dog’s rectum).
Genesis 18–19: The sin of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar was sodomy, not inhospitality, as homosexual groups sometimes claim. God would never have rained fire and brimstone on entire cities simply because they were lacking in the social graces. Peter said that righteous Lot was vexed every day with the Sodomites’ “filthy conduct”, adding that the Sodomites were “ungodly” people who performed “unlawful deeds” (2Pet. 2:6–8). Their sin, according to the angel of the Lord was “very grievous” (Gen. 18:20). Abraham referred to the inhabitants of those cities as “the wicked” (Gen. 18:23, 25). Sexual perverseness had permeated society in Sodom so completely that both young and old surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that they be allowed to sodomize the two angels of the Lord (Gen. 19:5).
Later in Israel’s history, Isaiah lamented that except for a remnant, the nation of Israel would have been as Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 1:9), and he even addressed the leaders of his nation as “rulers of Sodom” (Isa. 1:10). But by that time, that criticism would not have irritated the rulers of Israel at all. They were proud of their ways and considered their sinful behavior to be progressive and sophisticated (Isa. 3:9).
Judges 19:16–30: This story shows that Moses was right when he described the nature of his people as being like that of Sodom (Dt. 32:32). The intent of the men of Gibeah in this story from the book of Judges was to sodomize a young Levite traveler, though in the end, they settled for his wife instead. The righteous old man under whose roof the young Levite had found shelter for the night pleaded with the men of the city not to do this “wickedness”, calling it “folly” and “a vile thing”. When word spread of what had happened at Gibeah, the opinion of the outraged nation of Israel was that the men who committed this crime were “sons of Belial” (20:13).
Over a century later, God declared through Jeremiah that the entire population of the holy city of Jerusalem was to Him “as Sodom, and its inhabitants as Gomorrah” (Jer. 23:14). Ezekiel, prophesying in Babylonian captivity about the same time, said that God’s people had actually outdone Sodom’s filthiness (Ezek. 16:44–56).
Romans 1:18–28: Perhaps the most surprising element of Paul’s treatment of the issue of homosexuality is his teaching that homosexuality is not simply a sin for which one will be punished but is itself the punishment for sins already committed. According to Paul, homosexual desire is God’s curse on people who have known His will but refused to do it. Thinking that they are wise, Paul said, these people “become fools”, striving to suppress the truth concerning their ungodly behavior. These people can be very religious, but in their hearts, they are serving what God has created (the flesh) rather than the Creator Himself. With new theologies which condone perverse sexual behavior, they “traded the truth of God for a lie.”
Paul condemns in no uncertain terms both homosexuality itself and those who pervert the truth of God in order to excuse or endorse it (Rom. 1:32). His condemnation especially applies to religious leaders who make this abomination appear to be acceptable with God (cp. Isa. 5:20). The Bible is from God, and it is holy, but because the Bible is so clear on the matter of homosexuality, it is condemned by many modern religious teachers as the product of a past, unsophisticated culture. These leaders have not been sent by God to teach that error.
In this section of Paul’s letter to the saints at Rome, homosexuals are said to be “dishonoring their own bodies” by their conduct and that they are “without excuse”. Their behavior is said to be the result of a darkened, foolish heart. Homosexual impulses are called “vile affections”, and homosexual conduct is called “unnatural”, “unseemly”, and “improper”, making one “worthy of death”. Homosexual behavior is indulged in, says Paul, by those who have been cursed with a “reprobate mind”. It is difficult to see how any man of God could speak more clearly on the subject.
1Corinthians 6:9–11: Here, Paul equates homosexuality with unrighteousness, saying that such people “abuse themselves with mankind.” The single word which is translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” in the KJV is a Greek word which refers to a male homosexual. This word is used again by Paul in the verse from 1Timothy, cited below. All who do this, he says, will be refused an inheritance in the kingdom of God; in other words, they will be eternally damned. The word translated “effeminate” in the KJV is literally “soft ones”, which is a reference to catamites, young boys used in pederasty, which was a widespread and socially acceptable practice in much of the ancient world.
Secondly, Paul reveals that there is mercy to be found for those who have participated in this ungodly lifestyle. Some of the Corinthian believers themselves had once practiced homosexuality. This is not surprising, inasmuch as temple prostitution was one thing for which ancient Corinth was noted. In fact, the term “Corinthian girl” was a well-known euphemism for a prostitute.
1Timothy 1:10–11: Here, too, Paul tells Timothy that homosexuals “defile themselves with mankind” and that to do so is “contrary to sound doctrine.” So, from what Paul plainly wrote, we know that anyone who teaches that homosexuality is acceptable to God is teaching what is “contrary to sound doctrine.”
Jude 7: Jude calls homosexual behavior “going after strange flesh”, meaning, of course, that it is unnatural and ungodly for a man to “go after” another man or for a woman to “go after” another woman. The word “strange” is used frequently in the Bible in reference to things contrary to the will of God. The actual Greek word is “other” flesh, translated “foreign” in some places. It is certainly “other” than the will of God and “foreign” to it for men to lust after men and for women to lust after women. Jude also notes that such people have “given themselves over to” moral impurity and that they will suffer the vengeance of God in the form of “eternal fire”.
Finally, a distinction should be made between those who have been turned over by God to the spirit of homosexuality and those who have engaged in homosexual acts because of peer pressure, excessive lust, or weakness induced by drugs or strong drink. We cannot justly condemn such people as homosexuals anymore than we could call our children witches and wizards because they succumb to childish curiosity and experiment with a Ouija board. Experimentation with evil could lead to a wicked lifestyle, but there is a vast difference between experimentation and giving oneself over to the lifestyle.
We are grateful for the mercy of God that is available for all who confess and turn from sin. One of the less pleasant tasks of a servant of Jesus is having to point out what sin is so that those who would come to the real God may know what they need to change. Homosexuality is sin. If one repents of it, he will find forgiveness in Christ. If he does not repent, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire with all the other wicked. There is nothing else that anyone who believes the Bible can possibly believe about homosexuality, for the Bible offers no alternative to it.